Low in calories and high in flavor, onions are great raw or cooked, but hell to prepare. They make us cry.
But about a dozen years ago I got an Internet account because I wanted to learn how to control my diabetes. That was before there were any diabetes websites, but there was one diabetes mailing list called “Diabetic.” That mailing list is still around, along with hundreds more. And except for blogs like this, I don’t think that there is any better place to find support than these mailing lists.
One of the best tips on Diabetic was a simple way to avoid the pain of cutting up onions – swimming goggles. Until the strap broke a few months ago, I used a pair for years. It was no problem to find a replacement pair in the first sporting goods store I visited.
Few foods pack as much flavor in so little space as garlic. Of course, eating garlic is also a great way to keep people from getting too close.
Those little garlic cloves can be as much of a pain in their own way as onions. Mincing them takes a sharp knife and special concern to make sure that you avoid cutting your fingers.
Again, about a dozen years ago, people on the Internet taught me several much better ways to prepare garlic. Most of these tips came from the “Fat-Free” mailing list, back in the days when many people, myself included, thought that all fat was the enemy, not just some types of fat.
The easiest way to skin or peel garlic cloves is to put them in the microwave for about 15 seconds. Then skins will come right off when you gently press on them.
Someone else recommend that you set the head of the garlic on your cutting board, then give it a good whack with the heel of your hand. This will separate the cloves from each other, so that they come apart easily. Lay each clove on the board, and whack it with the side of a heavy Chinese chopping knife. If you smash it thoroughly, the skin will fall off. Relieves aggression, too.
The problem with this method, however, is that it sometimes works too well. I found that garlic cloves would fly around the room all too often for my taste.
Then, you still needed to mince those little cloves. So an even better tip is to use a garlic press that will crush the garlic with the skin on. You don’t even have to go to the bother of removing it.
As far as I know there are only one or two garlic presses that will do this. Both are made by the Swiss company Zyliss. I’ve used the Zyliss Susi Deluxe Garlic Press for years. Although they call it deluxe, it is about the most nondescript looking tool I have. But it works great: You just put the garlic in the well of the press, close the handles together, and squeeze.
In researching this blog entry I discovered that Zyliss now makes a Jumbo Garlic Press. They say that it’s large enough to press several cloves at one time. I just ordered one.